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1.
JAMA ; 327(18): 1757-1758, 2022 05 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1913734
3.
Global Health ; 17(1): 112, 2021 09 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1430461

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: During the first year and a half of the COVID-19 pandemic, COVAX has been the world's most prominent effort to ensure equitable access to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. Launched as part of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (Act-A) in June 2020, COVAX suggested to serve as a vaccine buyers' and distribution club for countries around the world. It also aimed to support the pharmaceutical industry in speeding up and broadening vaccine development. While COVAX has recently come under critique for failing to bring about global vaccine equity, influential politicians and public health advocates insist that future iterations of it will improve pandemic preparedness. So far COVAX's role in the ongoing financialization of global health, i.e. in the rise of financial concepts, motives, practices and institutions has not been analyzed. METHODS: This article describes and critically assesses COVAX's financial logics, i.e. the concepts, arguments and financing flows on which COVAX relies. It is based on a review of over 109 COVAX related reports, ten in-depth interviews with global health experts working either in or with COVAX, as well as participant observation in 18 webinars and online meetings concerned with global pandemic financing, between September 2020 and August 2021. RESULTS: The article finds that COVAX expands the scale and scope of financial instruments in global health governance, and that this is done by conflating different understandings of risk. Specifically, COVAX conflates public health risk and corporate financial risk, leading it to privilege concerns of pharmaceutical companies over those of most participating countries - especially low and lower-middle income countries (LICs and LMICs). COVAX thus drives the financialization of global health and ends up constituting a risk itself - that of perpetuating the downsides of financialization (e.g. heightened inequality, secrecy, complexity in governance, an ineffective and slow use of aid), whilst insufficiently realising its potential benefits (pandemic risk reduction, increased public access to emergency funding, indirect price control over essential goods and services). CONCLUSION: Future iterations of vaccine buyers' and distribution clubs as well as public vaccine development efforts should work towards reducing all aspects of public health risk rather than privileging its corporate financial aspects. This will include reassessing the interplay of aid and corporate subsidies in global health.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/supply & distribution , COVID-19/prevention & control , Global Health/economics , Health Equity/economics , Pandemics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Risk
7.
J Am Board Fam Med ; 34(Suppl): S225-S228, 2021 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1099991

ABSTRACT

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many physicians and health care systems have shifted to providing care via telehealth as much as possible. Although necessary to control spread of the virus and preserve personal protective equipment, this shift highlights existing disparities in access and care. Patients without the skills and tools to access telehealth services may increase their risk of exposure by seeking care in person or may delay care entirely. We know that patients need internet access, devices capable of visual communication, and the skills to use these devices to experience the full benefits of telehealth, yet we also know that disparities are present in each of these areas. Currently, federal programs have given physicians greater flexibility in providing care remotely and have expanded internet access for vulnerable patients to promote telehealth services. However, these changes are temporary and it is uncertain which will remain when the pandemic is over. Family medicine physicians have an important role to play in identifying and addressing these disparities and facilitating more equitable care moving forward.


Subject(s)
Family Practice/organization & administration , Health Equity/economics , Telemedicine/organization & administration , COVID-19/epidemiology , Health Equity/trends , Health Policy/economics , Health Policy/trends , Healthcare Disparities , Humans , Internet/economics , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Telemedicine/economics , United States/epidemiology
8.
Health Econ ; 30(2): 470-477, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-921726

ABSTRACT

During the COVID-19 pandemic, health care systems around the world have received additional funding, while at other times, financial support has been lowered to consolidate public spending. Such budget changes likely affect provision behavior in health care. We study how different degrees of resource scarcity affect medical service provision and, in consequence, patients' health. In a controlled lab environment, physicians are paid by capitation and allocate limited resources to several patients. This implies a trade-off between physicians' profits and patients' health benefits. We vary levels of resource scarcity and patient characteristics systematically and observe that most subjects in the role of physician devote a relatively stable share of budget to patient treatment, implying that they provide fewer services when they face more severe budget constraints. Average patient benefits decrease in proportion to physician budgets. The majority of subjects chooses an allocation that leads to equal patient benefits as opposed to allocating resources efficiently.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Health Care Rationing/organization & administration , Physicians/economics , Budgets/organization & administration , Efficiency, Organizational , Health Care Rationing/economics , Health Equity/economics , Humans , Models, Theoretical , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index
11.
Healthc Manage Forum ; 33(5): 239-242, 2020 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-637631

ABSTRACT

Managing healthcare in the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) era should be guided by ethics, epidemiology, equity, and economics, not emotion. Ethical healthcare policies ensure equitable access to care for patients regardless of whether they have COVID-19 or another disease. Because healthcare resources are limited, a cost per Quality Life Year (QALY) approach to COVID-19 policy should also be considered. Policies that focus solely on mitigating COVID-19 are likely to be ethically or financially unsustainable. A cost/QALY approach could target resources to optimally improve QALYs. For example, most COVID-19 deaths occur in long-term care facilities, and this problem is likely better addressed by a focused long-term care reform than by a society-wide non-pharmacological intervention. Likewise, ramping up elective, non-COVID-19 care in low prevalence regions while expanding testing and case tracking in hot spots could reduce excess mortality from non-COVID-19 diseases and decrease adverse financial impacts while controlling the epidemic. Globally, only ∼0.1% of people have had a COVID-19 infection. Thus, ethical healthcare policy must address the needs of the 99.9%.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Delivery of Health Care/economics , Delivery of Health Care/ethics , Health Equity/economics , Health Equity/ethics , Health Policy/economics , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , Quality-Adjusted Life Years , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2
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